On Sunday, November 8, after a pandemic-impacted Halloween, an historic and chaotic election it was comforting to gather on our Zoom call for a stimulating adult program while our students attended Jewish Cultural School. Below are summaries of what occurred in each group this month. Come back next month to read about how our classes prepared for celebrating Hanukkah as an online event.
Littles Group – PreK- Kindergarten, teacher Josh Kaplan
Middles Group – grades 1-2, teacher Colline Roland
For our lesson we took a trip to Israel! We learned our important manner words in Hebrew and then we jetted off! We arrived Friday night and learned that we couldn’t take our train because it was Shabbat! From there we went to a Kibbutz and we all decided we would like to live in one! Then we went to the Negev, the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. We learned there’s all kinds of people living in Israel!
Juniors Group – grades 3-5, teacher Renee Dorman
In November, with a nod to the recent elections and Humanistic values, the Juniors class talked about how we decided what we believe and how our society should work. We put our ideas into practice by creating our own constitutions for a new colony on Mars, called Planet B. If you would like to see how Mars looked when we arrived, you can explore it here: http://accessmars.withgoogle.com/
We also did a Hebrew letter matching activity. The answer key is here: https://www.akhlah.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/
B’ Mitzvah Group, – grades 6-8, teacher Eva Cohen
Our class this month focused on learning about the Talmud. After our usual Hebrew conversation warm-up and a game of “Two Truths and a Lie” (connected to the Humanistic Jewish value of “emet”–truth), we reviewed some creepy Jewish mythology with roots in the Talmud–stories about golems, demons, and dybbuks. We looked at visual art incorporating this spooky mythology, and then students drew their own spooky Jewish comic art. We took a short break, and then regathered to study the famous Talmudic story of the Oven of Akhnai. Students listened to a storytelling version of the tale, read it aloud in translation, and then watched a music video retelling of it. We wrapped up with a good discussion of the story, where students reflected on its surprisingly humanistic themes (spoiler–it’s a story about majority rule and rabbis challenging God’s authority).
Dybbuk, by Ephraim Moshe Lilien (1874–1925).